the dangers of using abrasive wheels

The dangers of using abrasive wheels

Posted on 23rd Jun, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham

Abrasive wheels carry some of the most dangerous risks of any type of equipment in the workplace and accidents involving abrasive wheels are often severe. Despite their dangers, they’re still one of the most commonly used tools in the industrial and manufacturing world – used for filing, drilling, welding, and much more. With this in mind, it’s important to receive safety training before using abrasive wheels at work. Without following the common safety protocols, you put yourself at risk of serious injury at work.

The dangers: What to look out for when using an Abrasive wheel

  1. Damage to the wheel

Over time, abrasive wheels can crack or chip – which increases their risk. If you notice your abrasive wheels are damaged, do not risk using the equipment. You should always check for service limits too and ensure your equipment is regularly checked and maintained.

blue abrasive part

  1. Incorrect set-up of the wheel

All abrasive wheels need to be fit with the right wheel. You need to check that your wheel fits the speed specification listed and that a work rest has been fitted. Parts also need to be fitted correctly to prevent accidents from happening when the tool is in use.

abrasive wheel in use

  1. Splinters, sparks, and flying materials from the use of the tool

When you use abrasive wheels, you’re likely to notice all of the above. Of course, these materials can all be dangerous if you’re not properly protected. Ensure you’re equipped with the correct safety equipment and PPE at all times.

abrasive wheel safety equipment

  1. The abrasive tool itself

Last, but certainly not least, the tool itself carries many dangers. With abrasive wheels rotating between 6,000 and 15,000 rpm, you can only imagine the injuries should the tool come into contact with skin. Do not touch the wheel or apply excessive force during use.

abrasive wheel sparks

On top of the more specific advice given above, it’s also a good idea to keep the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations in mind. These apply to any machinery, appliance, or tools used in your workplace, such as abrasive wheels.

The guidelines highlight that:

  • All equipment must be properly constructed and properly maintained
  • All equipment must be safely and appropriately used – and used only in the circumstances it was intended for
  • All equipment operators and supervisors must be properly trained

With that final point in mind, it’s essential that you complete the relevant safety training course before using abrasive wheels for the first time.

Safety training courses for abrasive wheels

At Browns Safety Services, we offer an Abrasive Wheels In-House Training Course. The four hour course covers all the important safety topics including:

  • Noise, dust, and vibration hazards and control
  • Changing wheels
  • Cutting methods and posture
  • Correct methods of stopping and isolating
  • Plus pre-use checks, practical training and much more.

Of course, Abrasive Wheels is just one of the many safety training courses we offer here at Browns Safety Services. Why not organise an away day and pair our half day Abrasive Wheels Training Course with another half day course, such as Working at Height? Call our Course Enquiries team on 01282 615517 for more information.

Do you regularly use abrasive wheels in your line of work? If so, why not share your safety tips with us in the comments below. Alternatively, you can tweet your tips to us @BrownsLadders

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